We rely on your reports of any natural or wildlife related items of interest.
Please pass your reports to Iain or John. See our Contacts page for details.

Latest News

If you wish to join our club (and new members are very welcome) you can now download an application form from here. The form is in Microsoft Word format so should be readily viewable. The forms will also be available per the usual outlets.

Clicking on any image will give an enlarged version (maximum 640 x 480 pixels approximately). Higher resolution images are available on request (subject to the copyright holder's agreement) - contact John for details.

5th March 2015
Have the following from Kevin Findlater MBE, SOC Dumfries Branch -

"Carrifran, a magnificent 1600 acre ice-carved valley in the Moffat Hills and at the Dumfries Branch of Scotland's Bird Club on 11th March here is your chance to hear all about the wild birds associated with this bold initiative in ecological restoration. The project was set up to demonstrate that in a world awash with problems, we need not sit back and wring our hands."
The venue is Cumberland St Day Centre, Dumfries (off Brooms Rd Car Park), DG1 2JX and the time is 7.30pm. Full details at http://www.the-soc.org.uk/whats-on/local-branches-2/dumfries/

3rd March 2015
From Ron Lewis-Smith -
At last seen my first brambling this winter - in fact a tight flock of at least 200 on the ground and in large oak and beech trees on the Alton Motte, and vicinity, from c. 10-10.30 am today during flurries of snow.

This is by far the biggest sighting we have heard of this season!

24th February 2015 - A change of program for the March meeting
Our scheduled speaker has unfortunately had to cancel. However, all is not lost as Bobby Smith has stepped into the breach. Although we don't have his topic yet, it will no doubt be just as interesting as his previous presentations. See you there!

20th February 2015
Have just received two annual reports from Andy Riches. The first is for Castle Loch & Hightae LNRs 2014. The second is the County Mammal Report for 2014.
Andy adds the following comment regarding the latter -
" You will have noticed that the Roe Deer distribution map for 2014 shows a substantial reduction in distribution from that of 2013. This is almost certainly not a true reduction in distribution but a lack of records. It is crucial to remember that the maps reflect records received and there may well be areas and species that are heavily under recorded. Under recording is a particular problem with common species such as the Roe Deer or the Rabbit.
Now you know what I am looking for to include in the 2015 report! "

9th February 2015 - European Tree of the Year
We have a message from Jonathan Pinnick, one of the team that works for the Scottish Wildlife Trust at Loch of the Lowes -

I am part of the small team that works for the Scottish Wildlife Trust at Loch of the Lowes, home to “Lady’s Tree” which was named Scottish Tree of the Year back in October, just ahead of your Gowk Tree – another very worthy contender.
As you may be aware voting opened this week for European Tree of the Year for 2015 with “Lady’s Tree” representing Scotland. Competition between the 14 countries represented has been fierce so far and we currently trail the leading contenders by some thousands of votes.
Therefore I am writing to ask whether you would be able to encourage your members to vote in support of “Lady’s Tree”.

There is no postal vote this time, only on-line. The following link will take you to the entry page.
The entry form is on the right of the page, you may have to scroll over to see it..

6th February 2015
Latest update from Iain -
Very little to report from the start of the year. Local shooters reported seeing very few Woodcock in our area but lots of Wood Pigeon feeding on Beech mast. Very few winter birds around such as Redwing, Fieldfare, Brambling and Waxwing. A lack of Tawny Owls being heard? Anybody heard a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker? Only sightings I have are a Golden Eagle over Moffat on the 13th and a flock of 42 Brambling at Millhousebridge from Garry Tait. At the Community Reserve lochan on the 14th were 5 Mute Swan and a Pink Footed Goose. Garry saw three Black Grouse near Tweedshaws on the 16th. Hopefully the remainder of Winter and the return of Spring will bring some more wildlife sightings.
And some reports from Dave Bradshaw -
18/01/15 - 1 Brambling with Chaffinch Beattock country park, still 1 juv Mute Swan on lake with 2 Adults. They seem to have distanced themselves from it. Other 7 have left. 2 Bullfinches outside in trees by railway bridge.
21/01/15 - Leadhills road 2 female Kestrels, 1 Red Grouse.
28/01/15 - Siskin numbers are building up here in Cornal Court, usually peak late March, early April. There has been a flock of about 15 Goldfinches since before Xmas. This morning 3 Bullfinches on the trees dropping on to the grass alongside the garages to feed. Also a Treecreeper. My feeder and gardent his morning at one time had 13 Goldfinch, 5 Siskin, 5 House Sparrow and 8 Chaffinch. At the reserve yesterday a pair of Mute swan. 2 Dippers at Beattock bridge, 1 at Station Park bridge. 170 Pinkfeet over the co op.
And John adds - was complaining to Iain on Wednesday that hadn't heard any Tawnies for months only to hear one calling that evening! Blue Tits are scouting nest boxes and House Sparrows inspecting the spaces under roof edges around Greenwood Close so spring must be on its way.

7th January 2015
Here we are with another year and with little to report! Our usual winter visitors have been few and far between this season, a few small flocks of Redwing, likewise of Fieldfare, only an occasional sighting of Brambling and no further reports of Waxwing since November. It looks like most of us have has a distinct drop in the number of birds coming into our gardens, they must still be finding plenty of 'natural' food and prefer that to our offerings. Numbers have gone up on the few hard days we've had, only to drop off again as soon as the frosts have lifted. There is no cause for concern, the bird population is as healthy as it ever was. John's garden is renowned for the lack of birds in wet weather and last week saw a record low - Blackbird and Chaffinch only and only a few of each - offset by a more normal 6-8 types of bird in much greater numbers the following day.

Two bits of information from elsewhere. The first is from Any Riches -

"This is to let you know that Scottish Badgers will be running a Level 1 Registered Badger Worker Course in Dumfries & Galloway this autumn.
The purpose of the Registered Badger Worker Training Scheme is to build a network of surveyors certified as competent to undertake specific tasks as identified by Scottish Badgers. Inclusion on the Register is a nationally recognised qualification.
The course costs £120.00 which includes a comprehensive training manual, classroom and field-based training, personal tutoring, assessment fees and completion certificate.
Full details of the course and an application form are attached but if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me."
(We haven't been able to put the details/application form on-line but, if you contact John, we can forward it on request or put you in touch with Andy.)

The second is from Neighbourhood Watch regarding a scam -

Sky Television and Broadband Phone Scam
We've had recent reports of scammers phoning pretending to be from Sky Television and Broadband so please make sure friends and family are aware. Sky have confirmed that this is not a genuine call.
The scammers attempt to appear authentic by asking for you by name and stating that "our information" shows you pay by direct debit. The scam involves claiming that your Sky viewing card is about to expire and that they need some information in order to send you a new one. They then proceed to ask for your sort code before then asking for the last four digits of your account number. Like many scammers they may get pushy when not given this information.
This call is then followed up by a second call where they claim you have overpaid and that they wish to refund you. It is at this point that they ask for the rest of your bank details.
A Sky Spokesperson said
"We would never contact a customer to request payment over the phone for a replacement viewing card.
If you are due a credit on your account it’s very unusual for us to ask for your bank details over the phone, if you are suspicious at all please hang up and call us on 03442 414141. "
If you've received this scam call or a similar one and given over account details you should contact your bank immediately. If you received such a call and didn't give over details, it would be helpful if you could report the incident to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
The reason these scams work is that they contact thousands of people and so, purely by coincidence, a few of these people will not only have a Sky account but may have recently completed a transaction with Sky and so will be expecting such a call.
If you receive this or another suspicious phone call...
• Remember, you do not have to get into discussions over the phone with anyone, and never give out any personal information, such as bank or credit card details. These could be used fraudulently.
• Keep your business, your business. Just say "No thank you, I am not interested" and hang up straight away.
• To find out more about True Call the call blocking device tested by Trading Standards, which stops 99% of nuisance calls visit http://www.truecall.co.uk
Also remember ... No genuine lottery or competition would ask you to buy goods or send money to claim a prize!


All entries for 2014 have been archived. View by clicking here or on menu at left.